Missoula, Montana – The Missoula Ranger District will host a booth at the Missoula County Fair August, 11-16 at the Missoula County Fairgrounds that will include participation by the Forest Service’s first paid female firefighters.
Missoula Ranger District employees participate in the annual fair to share information on the Forest Service mission and history.
This year’s event will offer a glimpse into the daily life and groundbreaking accomplishments of the first paid female firefighters.
According to Libby Langston, Missoula Ranger District Fire Prevention Specialist, several Missoula women wanted to find a way into the world of firefighting in the early 1970’s.
“They wanted to do exciting outdoor paid work during the summers,” Langston said. “But the only way to be on a “pick-up” fire crew was to form an all-women crew. This core group put an ad in the Missoulian and heard from 36 other women. A crew was formed and eventually hired by the Forest Service to work on fires in Montana and Idaho.”
Soon after their first successful stints on the fireline these women witnessed a significant shift in employment opportunities for women as the Forest Service began hiring women to be on regular fire crews.
The fair display booth will feature historical photos and other information about firefighting in the 1970’s and be located in the commercial building on the first floor near the east entrance of the Missoula County Fairgrounds.
A few of the first paid female firefighters will be volunteering at the booth on Thursday, August 13 from 1:00 to 4:00.
For more information, please contact Libby Langston at 406-546-6032.